Legislation that would amend the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (HPA) to ban performance packages and stiffen penalties to those who sore Tennessee Walking Horses and other gaited equids has been reintroduced into the U.S. House of Representatives.
Soring—which the HPA forbids—is the deliberate injury to a horse’s feet and legs to achieve an exaggerated, high-stepping, so-called “big lick” gait.
In 2013, Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which would have amended the HPA to forbid trainers from using action devices and performance packages. It also would have increased federal penalties for anyone who sored a horse and would have required the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if a Tennessee Walking Horse show management indicated its intent to hire one.
Shortly thereafter, Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced identical legislation into the U.S. Senate. However, both bills died in Congress.
In April, Ayotte and Warner reintroduced the PAST Act into the U.S. Senate, where a bipartisan group of senators supported the proposed legislation.
On July 29, Representative Ted S. Yoho (R-FL) reintroduced the PAST Act into the U.S. House of Representatives. Yoho said the bipartisan legislation is supported by more than 200 veterinary and animal health organizations, equine welfare advocates, and industry professionals.
He said that the bill’s latest incarnation reflects the fact that the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry h